This past year I had the distinct pleasure of working with Jack W. Germond on his first fiction novel, A Small Story for Page 3. The ebook released from MuseItUp Publishing on August 14, 2013. It was a bittersweet occasion as Jack passed away in the early morning hours of the same day. His wife, Alice Travis Germond, has been kind enough to join me on the third day of her blog tour to promote the release of A Small Story for Page 3 in print.
November 6, 2013 found a gathering of Jack's friends and colleagues celebrating the launch of the print book.
A Small Story for Page 3
Harry Fletcher can’t for the life of him figure out what exactly the ‘nugget’ of information his colleague, Eddie Concannon, uncovered prior to his death is. Picking his way along the threads of information, Harry soon finds himself at odds with government officials and his own newspaper seems to be involved in the collusion. Join Harry as he deciphers the clues and enjoy a journey into the world of investigative reporting set against a colorful back drop of characters and locations.
Welcome to Come Walk With Me, Alice. Can you tell us a bit about yourself? Jack was well known in political circles, but you are equally well know and have played an important role in the American political scene as well.
Alice Germond is the Secretary Emeritus of the Democratic National Committee. She was elected Secretary unopposed three times from 2002 to January 2013. Alice also served on the Executive Committee, the Rules and By-Laws Committee and as Secretary for the Democratic National Convention where she called the role of states that determines the Party's nominee. Alice has participated in every Convention since 1974 when the Party wrote its National Charter. Alice currently is an elected At-Large member of the DNC and serves on the Resolutions Committee.
Active in the Democratic Party for over 45 years, she has held leadership positions in local, state and national campaigns including Political Director for Clinton/Gore in CA, Deputy National Political Director for Michael Dukakis, and Super Delegate Director for Gary Hart. In 1988 Alice moved to Washington DC, and became Director of Political Operations for Ron Brown's successful election as Chair of the DNC. She was named his Senior Advisor, coordinating DNC Party Programs and was his liaison to the 1992 Convention. From 1993—1996 she was Director of the DNC's Government and Party Affairs Departments.
A strong advocate for issues and party values, Alice led the historic effort to put Geraldine Ferraro on the Democratic Ticket while Chair of the National Women's Political Caucus Democratic Task Force. During her tenure as Executive Vice President of NARAL Pro-Choice America, Fortune Magazine ranked NARAL as the most effective women's organization in the nation. Alice also worked for the AFL-CIO's Women's Division and for SEIU. One of Alice's earliest experiences was participating in Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" March on the National Mall.
Alice has broad experience as a speaker and working with the press. Her op-eds have been published by major newspapers and on the internet, and in 1995 CBS hired Alice for their special Convention Coverage Unit. She has spoken at Party Events in 50+ States and for the campaigns, organizations and issues with which she is identified. Her international work includes lectures at Tsinghua University in Beijing, leader of two delegations to Taiwan, presentations in Madrid, London, Barcelona, Toronto, the Virgin Islands and several NDI exchanges including one for the European Parliament.
In 2013 President Barack Obama appointed Alice to the prestigious Commission on White House Fellows where she currently serves. Prior commissions include the CA Council on Criminal Justice (Gov. E G Brown, Jr.) and the LA Olympics Government Affairs Committee.
Alice earned her BA from Bennington College, VT in 1965 where she received a non-resident term scholarship and was Chair of the school legislature. Her MS Degree in Public Administration/Recreation was awarded in 1977 from CA State Un. LA with a 4.0 average.
Now living on a bend of the Shenandoah River in West Virginia, Alice grows vegetables and fruits, goes running with her dog Freddy, and watches the bald eagles who have returned to the region. Coffee on the deck, warm conversation with many friends and visits from six grandchildren are a constant pleasure.
How did Jack come to write A Small Story for Page 3? His other books were non-fiction biographical ones and the ones co-written with Jules Witcomb were about the presidential races he covered.
Jack’s novel combines his love of journalism with his passion about politics and “how it works” – or doesn’t. It’s a newspaper/political potboiler. It’s a fun read, particularly thinking about the great days of newspaper business and the questionable behavior of politicians.
Here is short excerpt from A Small Story for Page 3:
"Oddly enough, ladies and gentlemen of the TV audience," Harry announced in his persona as Larry Largelungs of Action Central News, "the condemned man was smiling and singing as he approached the gallows."
The mood changed when he arrived at Wear's office to find the executive editor and the managing editor waiting and somberly reading printouts of the story.
"This thing has to be settled today," Wear said. "It's gone on long enough, it's tied us in knots, and we need to find a solution."
"I thought we had one," Harry said. "The story shows he has been sailing under false colors as a corruption fighter by trying to protect one of the targets of the investigation with whom he had a connection, perhaps lucrative, not previously disclosed."
"We're not the ones who have to be convinced," Mike reminded him.
When they walked into Marcotte's office, it was obvious he was not prepared to be persuaded. The publisher remained behind his huge mahogany desk and with a brusque gesture he seated the others at the small conference table.
"I've read the story you people seem to think should run on Page One as soon as possible," he said, "I think it’s still libelous horseshit, and I intend to spike it, this time for good. You still have no hard evidence that Tyler Bannister resisted Phase Two because of some personal concern. But Tyler denies it flat-out and there's no quote from him to corroborate it."
Harry was trying to contain his fury. "The only quote from him in reply was “go fuck yourself.” Do you want to use that?"
"Don't be flippant, Fletcher, this is a serious question."
"We all understand that, Dave," Wear said, stepping in quickly. "If you want a clearer denial in more decorous terms, we can do that."
"A denial isn't going to change the fact that we are doing serious damage to Tyler Bannister's reputation and potentially his political career," Marcotte said, his voice rising. "I don't intend to be a party to that."
"That was never our intention," Wear said. "We've gone where the story has taken us. The truth is that this episode raises serious questions about Bannister's candidacy."
"It shows him interceding in behalf of a friend and former business associate in an official investigation," Harry said with some heat. "That's a part of the truth about him that we know but our readers do not."
"Don't give me that truth and readers crap, Fletcher," the publisher said. "I remember you calling him a trimmer way back there. You had it in for him from the start. So did Concannon."
"This story quotes Tom Lawton saying Bannister called him with a warning about being on Carvaggio's list of targets and it quotes Rudy Myers as confirming that Bannister ordered Lawton's name stricken from that list once he agreed to retire from the bench."
"I know what the story says but, as I told you earlier, Fletcher," Marcotte said, "it is the publisher, not the reporter, who decides what appears in the News and I have made the decision on this one." After an interminable twenty seconds of silence, he continued, "I think we're through here, gentlemen. Thanks for coming in." When the elevator dropped them at the third floor, Wear beckoned them into his office and closed the door on Meg. "I don't know what we do now," he said.
"What you and Mike do," Harry said, "is keep faith with the good people here who depend on you to let them put out a good newspaper and hope for change. What I do, is clean a few things out of my desk and walk out of the building. I don't have any choice now."
"What are you going to do about the story," Mike asked.
"I haven't thought it through, Mike, but I'm not going to give it to the Trib or some television station. I don't know if the story is mine to use elsewhere or what. It would take a lot of time and effort for anyone else to duplicate it."
Wear had a different concern. "What are you going to say when the word gets out that you've left the building?" he asked.
"I could just tell the truth—that I have left the News after almost thirty years because of a decision by the publisher to spike a story I wrote. Period." He laughed. "I'll leave it to Amy Whiting to fill in the blanks."
At Wear's office door, he turned to his two old friends. "Look, this isn't the end of the world. Let's all have dinner later in the week, some place public for all to see. Meanwhile, I'll keep you posted."
You can find A Small Story for Page 3 at:
MuseItUp Publishing Book Store
Barnes and Noble
I'd like to share a couple of reviews for A Small Story for Page 3.
Congratulations to MuseItUp Publishing for publishing this first novel by the legendary newspaper reporter and television commentator Jack Germond. I was privileged to know Jack, who died at age 85 the day A Small Story for Page 3 was published. Like the author himself, his novel is knowledgeable without being the least bit pretentious, insightful and often funny. You’ll cheer newspaper reporter Harry Fletcher as he doggedly pursues a scandal involving a politician who hopes to be governor. Despite threats from both the politician and his own publisher—not to mention marital problems at home—Harry perseveres as he confronts his own ethical standards of journalism. This is a well-written story with plenty of food for thought. K.P. Robbins
Inside a major D.C. newspaper hub, Jack W. Germond has created a tense, boilerpot of a story. He shows the glamour we all think the news media possess is coated with many layers of tarnish, some obvious, some concealed, seedy, and spreading like dry rot through the limbs of a towering old tree.
Upon the death of his friend, our hero Harry Fletcher, top political reporter is given what the business calls a nugget of a story his buddy was following. Find the story, Harry's bosses bid of him...quietly!
This is a gripping book I read from beginning to end in one sitting. I was captivated and cheering Harry on as he came up against obstacle after obstacle while ferreting out the story behind the nugget.
When I reached the end though, I wanted more, but sadly, there will be no more, Mr. Germond passed before this book was due for release, but I will read and re-read this book, as I often do with books that are keepers. This IS a keeper. Well done Mr. Germond, and thank you for leaving this final gift behind for us to enjoy.
Please follow Alice as the blog tour continues. Tomorrow A Small Story for Page 3 will be featured on Kay Lalone's blog Vist her at:
Please be sure to leave a comment for Alice and ask any questions. Thank you for visiting Come Walk With Me.
Other dates on the blog tour:
November 15 Kay Lalone
November 18 Penny Estelle
November 19 Helena Fairfax
November 20 Sara Durham
November 21 Barbara Ehrentreu
November 22 Cyrus Keith
November 25 Heather Brainerd
November 26 Penny Ehrenkranz
November 27 Victoria Roder
November 28 Leona Pence